A1 Journal article (refereed)
The role of thought suppression and psychological inflexibility in older family caregivers’ psychological symptoms and quality of life (2021)

Lappalainen, P., Keinonen, K., Pakkala, I., Lappalainen, R., & Nikander, R. (2021). The role of thought suppression and psychological inflexibility in older family caregivers’ psychological symptoms and quality of life. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 20, 129-136. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2021.04.005

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Lappalainen, Päivi; Keinonen, Katariina; Pakkala, Inka; Lappalainen, Raimo; Nikander, Riku

Journal or series: Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science

ISSN: 2212-1447

eISSN: 2212-1455

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 20

Pages range: 129-136

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication country: Netherlands

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2021.04.005

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78563


Family caregivers often report high levels of distress, including depressive symptoms, anxiety, and reduced quality of life. There is a need for a greater understanding of the factors influencing, explaining, and maintaining psychological distress in family caregivers.

The aim of this study was to examine whether avoidance strategies such as thought suppression (WBSI), psychological inflexibility (AAQ-II), and, and caregiver experiential avoidance (EACQ) predict psychological distress (BDI-II, GAD-7) and quality of life (WHOQOL) in family caregivers aged 60 and over. We hypothesized that these avoidance strategies would explain elevated levels of psychological symptoms and lower quality of life.

Altogether, 149 family caregivers completed self-report measures of depressive symptoms, anxiety, quality of life, thought suppression, psychological inflexibility and caregiver experiential avoidance. We conducted correlation and regression analyses to assess the associations and the predictive ability of these constructs.

Together, psychological inflexibility and thought suppression accounted for between 40 and 46% of the variance in the depression and anxiety outcomes and 15% of the variance in the physical domain of quality of life. Unwanted thoughts, the subcomponent of thought suppression, was strongly associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and with physical and psychological quality of life.

Thought suppression and psychological inflexibility played a significant role in explaining family caregivers’ symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, psychological inflexibility was significantly related to quality of life. This suggests the need for acceptance-based strategies to handle thought suppression and psychological inflexibility.

Keywords: older people; family caregivers; depression (mental disorders); anxiety; quality of life

Free keywords: older family caregivers; thought suppression; psychological inflexibility; depressive symptoms; anxiety; quality of life

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-14-09 at 11:53